The Butterfly and the Flame


Aloise interrupted her father in the little shed. The skylight was covered over with the autumn leaves and twilight had almost passed. She entered carefully and lit a candle by the window then put it in its holder. Her father sat with his back facing her at his workbench.

“What are you working on? Your dinner’s cold. It’s roast ham. ”

“Oh, just a…” he said, trailing off. A figure of a little horse or an elephant or something he put away into a drawer and he looked up at her, squinting at the candlelight.

“How was work today?” she said.

“Oh, well. You know how it is. There are no rounds of applause in my line of work. You try to teach the best way you know how and hope something gets through.”

“I know,” said Aloise. It was an odd response, it made her worried. She set the candle down onto his workbench and slinked into his lap, pressing her lips against his forehead before brushing aside the long wisps that had fallen over his brow. “They’ll pay tribute one day, just be patient.”

“So you’re setting me straight, are you?” he joked.

A butterfly tumbled into the shed and fluttered around the flame of the candle, which shook beneath the beating of the butterfly’s wings. They watched it for a minute as it flit dangerously about, then floated suddenly up as though in a gust, in an upward blast of the candle’s heat and travelled through the shadows back out the door, into the cold.

“We’ll see about this ham,” her father said, still staring. He got up tiredly from his seat. In the dark Aloise thought she saw a little tear, a tear of happiness collapse beneath his eyelashes, disappear in the dark too, and she laughed.

Thanks for checking out my short story.

Did I tell you I wrote a novel? You can read it here for free, or get it for your e-reader on iBooks, Amazon or Kobo. Or you can just say you read the book, and donate five bucks down below. Go on.

Gabriel Muoio


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